Throughout my many travels I'm frequently asked by persons who don't know much about Mormons, Are Mormons Christians? With a smile I always give the same answer, "Yes we are, very much so."

Mormons quite often are referred to as Latter-Day Saint Christians due to the official name of the church which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But it's more than just a name, Latter-Day Saints strive daily to live the life of Christ and abide by his teachings and those of his apostles.

The Bible tells us the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (Acts 11:26) The word Christian means “a follower of Christ" but the word disciple means “student” or “pupil.” Hence a true Christian is not someone who simply says they believe in Christ but rather someone who ardently follows and studies the Savior their entire lives. Mormons do exactly that, therefore we are very much Christian in the truest sense of the word.

Friday, May 17, 2013

LDS Church is smart to reach out to 'Book of Mormon' musical audiences, priest says

(by Joseph Walker 5-16-13)

Watching two Mormon missionaries passing out free copies of the Book of Mormon to playgoers outside a theater in which “The Book of Mormon” musical was being performed piqued Danielle Tumminio’s curiosity and led her to believe “that maybe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was doing something really smart in cultivating relationships with people who saw the musical.”

“Yes, the musical might make fun of Mormons,” Tumminio wrote recently in her Huffington Post blog.

“Yes, the musical has a message that Mormons probably shouldn’t embrace if they want to remain true to their tradition. But that doesn’t preclude it from being a vehicle that God uses to speak into people’s lives.”

Tumminio is an Episcopal priest and the author of “God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom.” She said she was intrigued when she saw the missionaries at work outside the theater when she went to see "The Book of Mormon."

“I was curious about why they chose this place to market their religion, given that the folks who purchased tickets were walking into a show written by ‘South Park’ creators that involves a liberal dose of cursing and reference to sexual body parts,” Tumminio wrote.

When she spoke to the two missionaries, Elder Fenn and Elder Chapman, they confessed that they were originally hesitant to proselyte outside the theater.

“We were actually really reticent about it,” Elder Chapman told Tumminio.

“When I heard about some of the songs that were in it, it did make me a little uncomfortable,” Elder Chapman continued. “It says foul language, and it seems like it has some stuff that makes pretty blatant fun of what we believe, and so that hurts a little bit.”

The missionaries needn’t have worried. According to Tumminio, “they handed out 40 copies — an entire box — of the Book of Mormon in under an hour.”

“One girl ran up to them to get her picture taken once she realized that the missionaries were real Mormons and not actors,” Tumminio wrote. “Later a member of the cast named Kevin Mambo tweeted a photo of the three of them taken by a security guard. The missionaries forwarded it to their families.”

In addition to talking to the missionaries, Tumminio also spoke to Liza Morong, one of two people — the other being Californian Richard Marcus — whose recently reported conversions to Mormonism were launched, or at least positively impacted, by attending a production of “The Book of Mormon.”

“I asked Liza if she thought she would have become a Mormon if she’d never set foot inside that Broadway theater,” Tumminio wrote. “I thought it would take her awhile to answer, but she responded quickly, confidently, saying, ‘I believe that if the Lord wanted me to find the gospel, I would have found it eventually.

“ ‘I’m really happy that it happened the way it did,’ ” Morong continued, “ ‘because it goes to show you how well he knows me as a musical theater major. He’d be like, ‘I got her!’ ”


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